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Rethink Parking

Flexible parking standards for a safe, sustainable, & walkable community

The "Rethink Parking" initiative is directly linked to the Planning Commission's efforts to implement Imagine Lexington by modernizing our parking regulations in the Zoning Ordinance in a way that balances the needs of parking demand and supply in Lexington while also creating safe, walkable, sustainable, and livable neighborhoods, workplaces, and amenities.

On August 25, 2022 the Planning Commission unanimously recommended APPROVAL of this proposal.  

On October 27, 2022 the Urban County Council unanimously ADOPTED (14-0) the Parking Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment

Key Dates & Presentations

May 21, 2020 - Planning Commission Work Session

March 18, 2021 - Planning Commission Work Session; Introductory Presentation (full video), Draft Text Released

April 7, 2021 - Mornings with Planning webinar, "Parking Reform - Unlocking Economic Growth and Housing Supply" (full video)

June 17, 2021 - Planning Commission Work Session; Public Input Summary (full presentation)

July 29, 2021 - Planning Commission Work Session; Parking ZOTA Update (full presentation)

June 30, 2022 - Planning Commission Work Session, Parking ZOTA Draft Text discussion

August 4, 2022 - Planning Commission Zoning Committee Recommends APPROVAL  of revised text

August 25, 2022 - Planning Commission unanimously recommends APPROVAL of revised text (full presentation)

October 13, 2022 - Urban County Council first reading (meeting link)

October 27, 2022 - Urban County Council final reading (final legislation approval link) (meeting link)

International Conversation on Parking Reform

It's not just us! Planners and researchers all across North America are considering (or have already implemented) various policy-based strategies for parking reform in their communities.

While each community has unique factors, such as population demographics and geography, the data and recommendations emerging from these analyses are following a unified trends.

Review of Minimum Parking Standards (video) - In 2015, the City of Ottawa created this short, animated video to help people understand the community impacts that minimum parking standards have on an urban area over time + the benefits of pursuing more flexible standards and prioritizing multimodal options. By the City of Ottawa, Oct. 2015.

People Over Parking – Planners in cities of all sizes are reevaluating parking requirements in part because of their effect on housing affordability. This article lists various national example of how development trends may favor affordability when the parking code is more flexible and/or minimums are eliminated. By Jeffrey Spivak for the American Planning Association, Oct. 2018.

Make Paid Parking Pay – This article explores the concept of “parking benefit districts” and provides examples of mid-size towns who used such districts to attract more residents and businesses while also providing a mechanism to generate more revenue for a variety of neighborhood improvements. By NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Assoication, Spring 2016.

Smaller Cities Lighten Up on Minimum Parking Requirements – From the article, “Form follows parking.” This alteration of the more well-known axiom “form follows function” alludes to the dominating impact that parking minimums can have on development (i.e. form). Smaller cities across the U.S., similar in size and character to Lexington, are responding to their overabundance of parking by eliminating/adjusting minimums and finding higher and better uses for already limited land. The article encourages another iteration of the axiom, “Form should follow people, not cars.” By NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Summer 2016.

America Probably Has Enough Parking Spaces for Multiple Black Fridays - A shifting retail landscape has had cascading effects on various elements of our communities and parking is not exempt. This article take a look at how the transition to online shopping has not only led to less foot traffic in store, but has resulted in far less automobiles in their parking lots. By Laura Bliss for Bloomberg CityLab, Nov. 2018.

Seattle’s Reduced Parking Minimums Cut 18,000 Stalls & Saved Over $500 Million - This article, which features some data on the economic impact of Seattle’s flexible parking policy (in place since 2018), highlights how parking reform to match the unique development needs of the city can save hundreds of millions, while also allowing for the development of housing for people instead of cars. While Seattle is a much larger city than Lexington, scaling Seattle’s “less-is-more” approach is one that many other small- to medium-sized cities have undertaken to much the same result – less parking equals more dollars for higher and better uses and infrastructure. By Eric Sundquist for State Smart Transportation Initiative, Feb. 2, 2021.

King County Multi-Family Residential Parking Calculator V2.0 - This calculator allows interested users to calculate right sized parking for multi-family housing sites based on existing supply and demand in specific areas. The tool "lets users estimate parking use in the context of a specific site, based on a model using current local data of actual parking use correlated with factors related to the building, its occupants, and its surroundings—particularly transit, population and job concentrations." The tool is intended to be used as a planning tool to inform discussion, rather than to be taken as definitive regulation. This point is tied to the necessary consideration of multiple other factors to discuss when pursuing any multi-family project. King County Metro Transit, Aug. 2015.

Roughly Right or Precisely Wrong - An article detailing the "precise but uncertain" nature of the Institute of Transportation Engineers' (ITE) Parking Generation and Trip Generation data, which are two of the most commonly used resources by municipalities setting and/or updating parking regulations within the communities they serve. By Donald Shoup for Access Magazine, Spring 2002.

Evaluating Transportation Land Use Impacts - An examination of the various impacts, benefits and costs of different land use development patterns on transportation planning and implementation. These various economic, social, and environmental impacts - depending on the planning decisions made - can have widespread impacts, positive or negative, that can shape entire cities.

The Price of Parking - This article provides a comprehensive comparison of the inter-city differences in parking prices to answer the question - "How much does it cost to park in different cities around the nation?" Louisville, Kentucky made the list of metropolitan areas evaluated in this study, with the monthly cost of parking near Louisville's City Hall calculated to about $65 per month. By Joe Cortright for City Commentary, Oct. 2016.
Parking Reform Could Reenergize Downtowns - In 2017, planners and elected officials in Buffalo, New York reformed their parking regulations, becoming the first city in the United States to stop imposing minimum parking requirements for new and re-development projects. Since this change was adopted, data continues to be collected in order to illustrate the resulting effects on development in the urban landscape. By Daniel Baldwin Hess and Jeffrey Rehler for The Conversation, June 2021.
Cities are Turning to Supercharged Bus Routes to More Quickly & Cheaply Expand Transit Services - Many communities across the United States are giving a fresh look to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines as a method to boost transit options that are more efficient and environmentally friendly. The Federal Transit Administration is awarding hundreds of millions in funds for these bus lines, particularly in smaller urban areas where subway and light rail lines are hard to justify. By Ian Duncan for The Washington Post, July 2021.


Chris Taylor

Project Lead

Administrative Officer, Long-Range Planning